The potential benefits of 3D culture systems, especially those that contain multiple cell types, are recognized in several fields, including oncology, stem cell and developmental biology, cardiology, and hepatology. Efforts have been underway for many years to develop 3D culture systems that recapitulate native tissue form and function. Patterning techniques have allowed two or more cell types to be placed in discrete locations relative to each other, thereby achieving compositional complexity in monolayer cultures or in cultures that are 2–3 cell layers thick. Seeding cells onto porous scaffolding or within hydrogels has created thicker tissues, but to date it has been a challenge to achieve a tissue-like cell density or to spatially direct placement of specific cell types onto the scaffold. Spheroids or aggregates can be assembled and utilized as microscale 3D tissue surrogates, but these approaches lack user-defined architecture.
Replicating Native Form and Function
Organovo’s NovoGen Bioprinter® Platform uniquely enables thick tissues (often >500 microns in thickness) to be constructed with spatial control in the x, y, and z axes, such that tissue-specific patterns or compartments can be produced that mimic key aspects of in vivo native tissues. Furthermore, because bioprinted tissues are created without dependence on integrated scaffolding or hydrogel components, they have a tissue-like density with highly organized cellular features, such as intercellular tight junctions and microvascular networks.
Multicellular bioprinted liver tissue demonstrating the formation of intercellular junctions (E-Cadherin+ cells, green color, left panel) and endothelial cell networks (CD31+ cells, brown color, right panel).
Automated and Reproducible
The high-precision, automated instrumentation at our San Diego facility ensures reproducibility among bioprinted tissues through tight control of both the composition of the tissue and the geometry. Tissues can be fabricated directly into a wide variety of cultureware or custom chambers designed to maintain and condition 3D tissues, thus minimizing the need for manipulations that can introduce variability. Genomics and proteomics have revolutionized research through the creation of highly reproducible tools for studying the genome and proteome. Organovo seeks to create a highly reproducible, dynamic 3D platform for the study of living organs in vitro.
The NovoGen Bioprinter® Platform fabricating tissue into a 24-well plate.